Podcast image - Is Microsoft Teams the future of all business collaboration?

Is Microsoft Teams the future of all business collaboration?

In episode #4 of our podcast, we discuss a recent change in the way businesses interact with Microsoft collaboration software. Once upon a time, Microsoft collaboration technology centered around SharePoint, Outlook and Yammer. Now Teams is becoming a ‘base of operations’ for the way people work, with SharePoint and Outlook left out in the cold.

We’re joined by Lesley Crook, a Microsoft MVP and Modern Workplace Consultant for Symity Ltd. Symity specialise in Teams meeting rooms and telephony services, and Lesley has plenty to say on: The reasons for this change in collaboration habits, Teams’ potential as a ‘base of operations’, the limitations of Teams and the potential for the future.



Podcast image - Is this the end of the world...run on spreadsheets?

Is this the end of the world...run on spreadsheets?

In episode #3 of our podcast, we ask - Is it time for businesses to end their relationship with spreadsheets and ‘start seeing other people’? We chat to Mark Bodger and Chris Harman from ICit Business Intelligence. A pair of industry veterans in the world of financial and operational planning, who are here to tell you to end your monogamous relationship with spreadsheets once and for all or face the fallout from being a tech laggard in your industry. Listen now.



Blog image - The 4 pillars of a quality website: examples from the experts

The 4 pillars of a quality website: examples from the experts

Your website is a shop window to your business and a cornerstone of your marketing strategy. In our article, we are going to tell you what we think makes up a great website. And we’ve cobbled together examples from some of the leading B2B technology organisations to show you examples of a quality website in action.   

These organisations are leading Microsoft partners who are successfully putting the qualities of a great website build into actionWe’ve taken these examples from our Top 50 Microsoft Partners website, which ranks partners on the quality of their inbound marketing strategies.  

So, if you’re currently designing or building your website, and could do with some advice or inspiration, this is a good place to start.  


Pillar 1: Functionality and purpose

When we talk about the functionality of a website, we mean the functions that allow a visitor to achieve what you want or intend them to achieve. Whether it’s to buy a product or request a demo, you need a website that allows your audience to complete a journey and respond to your call of action. So, make sure to include a form if you want your visitor to submit information. There should be simple and clear navigation, intuitive enough to allow your visitor to find their way around and consume the information you’ve created for them. 

Nintex 

Nintex, a global leader in business process automation, provide a good example of a website with strong functionality. As we mentioned above, it’s important for a website to be easy to navigate, contain quality content and include clear calls to action. And Nintex ticks all these boxesThe layout of the site is well executed considering the volume of solutions and content that they want to showcase. 

 

 

Along with good practical functionality (and a clear purpose)its also important to convey who you are and what you value as a company. 

One of the key takeaways from Nintex’s website, that I particularly like, is their positioning of people across the siteIt’s important that your brand echoes or compliments your product or service. For Nintex, who operate in the world of process automation (and the potential negative headlines of automation replacing people), it’s vital that they put people at the centre of their site. This idea of combining the practical elements of website build with branding and ethos, can be a tricky balancing act – but Nintex pull it off very well.  

 

Pillar 2: A clear user journey

There’s more to a website than a homepage. The mark of great design and the right build is the user journey that the visitor is taken on. As we mentioned when discussing functionality, clear navigation is key to this journey. You want your visitors to understand what you are offering. By making it easy to access the various areas of the site, you improve the user journey, keep visitors on the site longer and provide them with the expertise they are looking for. 

Veeam 

It is clear from the outset that Veeam are a collective of IT experts who are speaking to a specific audience (namely, IT professionals). They have a clear user journey laid out that begins with ‘how to’ video content, ends with a ‘buy’ call to action and contains a free trial and expert support along the way. That’s about as straight forward a buying journey should be, and Veeam do it well.

 

 

The other take away from this website is the clear sense of Veeam’s expertiseExtensive, detailed and valuable content is packed into this website and speaks to a specific audience, and in turn, leads them on the right journey.

 

Pillar 3: Quality content

Content is the key to any great marketing campaign  and it should be central to your website. When content is effectively, we should see succinct and concise language that avoids relying on technical or business jargon. The best content is clear and to the point and tells the reader something, whether that be marketing advicea ‘how to’ guide or thought leadership. 

ShareGate 

ShareGate pride themselves on making the Microsoft Cloud easier to use for organisations of all sizes. This focus is reflected in their website—in the look and feel, language and navigation. ShareGate are clear about what they do and why their customers choose them.

 

 

This simple and helpful ethos is consistent across their design, and is also consistent across their blog and social media profiles. Their content is always helpful, articulated in a clear and colourful manner.  

 

Pillar 4: Consistent brand and design

Your website needs to be visually appealing if you want to engage your audience. That means your designers need to think about the right colours, the visual structure of the site and how it all works together to produce branding that defines and sets your business apart. The language you use should fit your audience. If your visitors are IT developers, you can use more technical language. If they are business leaders, you should focus on the business benefits of your product or service. And remember, consistency across your site is essential.  

LiveTiles

Getting your tone of voice ‘right’ can be tricky. It takes is a clear understanding of your audience and their needs. The LiveTile tone of voice is spot on, right from the first words on their website to the latest blog they’ve posted on social media. It's a combination that shows these guys aren’t messing around. Clear, consistent and full of value, their website is a great example of how effective branding can differentiate you from your competitors. 

 


Podcast image - How we did it. The inside scoop on the Microsoft Partner Top 50

How we did it. The inside scoop on the Microsoft Partner Top 50

Episode #2 of our podcast is about the Microsoft Partner Top 50. For the last six years, Fifty Five and Five have produced an annual inbound marketing excellence report, celebrating the marketing efforts of organisations across the Microsoft Partner Network. In this episode we speak to Fifty Five and Five’s Barnaby Ellis (Head of Creative) and Stephen Reilly (Head of Content), about the release of the new Top 50 website, the transformation from hard copy report to a digital website. We also discuss the origins of the Top 50, from a piece of marketing in its own right to a solution that helps partners of all sizes improve their inbound marketing.



Podcast image - Microsoft Partner Top 50 edition with Nick Rameka of LiveTiles

Microsoft Partner Top 50 edition with Nick Rameka of LiveTiles

In this first ever episode of our podcast we speak to Nick Rameka, the CMO at LiveTiles, about brand evolution, pandemic priorities and marketing advice for other Microsoft partners. LiveTiles are a maverick marketing voice in the Microsoft Partner Network, and we were delighted to get his take on the marketing landscape in such a tumultuous year. Nick reveals the content marketing trends he sees coming around the corner and what remote working practices we can expect to stick as we try to put 2020 behind us.


Our all new Digital Top 50 Report

We’ve received many enquiries about our Top 50 Report in the last 12 months. Of course, COVID-19 and a virtual Microsoft Inspire have impacted us all somewhat, but we took the circumstances as an opportunity to fast-forward our plans for an all new Digital Top 50. You can find it at https://top50.live or read on to find out more. 

Top 50 goes digital 

So, we’re excited to announce that we will soon be launching the 2020/2021 Microsoft Partner Top 50 – in a brand-new digital form. For the first time, you can: Browse and navigate the Top 50 online, benchmark yourself against competitors, gain even more insights into your digital marketing efforts 

 

“We’ve always prided ourselves on the quality of the data and the rigour of our analysis. Now we’re giving everyone the ability to run their company through our analytics tool and not only find out their scores but also benchmark themselves against their competitors. In real time. For free!” 

 Chris Wright, Founder

Access real data in real time 

And that’s not all. The new Top 50 website will be running in real time, meaning data will be updated on a regular basis. We're also taking this chance to hone our scoring system even further this year. The brain behind our data is smarter, as our analytics engine has been updated to better understand what makes great content – and thus great content marketing. 

 

"The excitement and build up to the final reveal at Inspire grew year on year - Partners eagerly visiting our stand or visiting our website to get their hands on a copy of the Report and find out their position. Now you won't have to wait. Not only can you find out your score but you'll see how that compares to your peers and competitors."

Barnaby Ellis, Head of Creative

Stay competitive and ahead of the curve 

In our current climate, it’s more important than ever before to strategically plan your marketing output. To do this, you need a clear overview of your own strengths and weaknesses – alongside those of competitors in your field. By benchmarking yourself against competitors and accessing our data-driven insights, you’ll be able to track your marketing progress and ultimately improve it. We can help you to stay ahead of the curve and realise your full potential. 


5 ways to improve your Microsoft Partner marketing with benchmarking

  • Without ranking your work, it’s difficult to measure your progress
  • See where you are in relation to your peers 
  • Find out about essential Microsoft Partner marketing tool

If you’re a Microsoft Partner looking to improve your digital marketing strategy, then we have the perfect tool for you.

The Microsoft Partner Benchmarking Tool, made by Fifty Five and Five for Microsoft, is designed to diagnose the health of partners’ digital marketing, in terms of their website, blogs and social media. It measures a range of metrics across all three channels, and provides you with clear quantifiable metrics to judge your own success. Using this data, you can identify where improvements can be made with granular detail, down to the frequency and quality of your content. So how does it work in practice – and how can you use it to make the best of your marketing strategy? Read on to find out more.

1. Diagnose your progress

The first thing you’ll notice when you run a Partner Benchmarking Test is your overall marketing score out of 100. This score averages out the different achievements across the three channels we test; your website, blog and social media platform. You’ll have to look in more detail to find out more about each one, but your overall score will give you a good ‘at a glance’ understanding of how your marketing efforts are performing.

This score takes into account a number of factors which you can examine in more detail. As well as the performance of your blog and social platforms, it’ll also account for technical elements of your website, like link quality and other related SEO factors.

Microsoft Partner Benchmarking tool score

2. Rank your channels

Once you’ve looked at your overall score, it’s helpful to next understand how that’s broken down across your different channels. This means comparing the scores for your website, blog and social media platforms against one another. You’ll be able to clearly see where you’re performing well and which sections could be improved.

If for example, you find that your blogs and website platforms are performing significantly better than your social channels, you’ll be able to clearly see which strategies have been successful. Then, you’ll know where to divert resources and funds in future to improve your marketing across the board.

Microsoft Partner Benchmarking tool scores

3. Learn how to improve

The Microsoft Partner Benchmarking Tool isn’t just a resource to help you diagnose how your channels are performing against each other. The data is much more detailed, breaking each channel down into strengths and weaknesses.

For social media, for instance, you can see the extent to which engagement, frequency and quality of posts contributes to your overall score. For your blog platform, you can then view how the freshness of content and ease of reading affect the success of your blogging. Each of these different factors is then ranked good, average or needing improvement.

Once the benchmarking tool has given you a clear breakdown of your strengths and weaknesses across all channels, you’ll then be able to learn how to improve. Each test has an accompanying piece of informative content that teaches you how to improve your content in that particular section. This is vital in diagnosing the ‘how’ as well as the ‘where’ of improving your language performance.

Microsoft Partner Benchmarking tool recommendations

4. Test technical elements

Improving your content isn’t simply about frequency and readability. When judging the health of your website and blog platforms, search engines like Google pay a lot of attention to technical elements of your website performance. This includes factors like broken links, desktop and mobile speed, as well as JS, CSS and W3C errors. These all play an important role in determining how easy your website is to use, as well as how well the content you produce performs in SEO rankings.

Without the right tools and software, it can be difficult to find out where technical errors occur on your website – even if you know that overall performance can be better. With this tool, you can diagnose exactly where errors occur, down to the individual errors on specific website pages.

Microsoft Partner Benchmarking tool technical

5. Compare yourself to the leaders

Perhaps the most important thing when looking to improve your digital marketing strategies is to see where you stand against the competition. And with the Partner Benchmarking Tool, as well as the Digital Marketing Excellence Top 50 report, you can achieve exactly this. This annual report ranks the 50 most successful digital strategies of Microsoft Partners right around the world, in terms of website, blogs and social media campaigns. Most importantly, it’s ranked using data sourced from the Partner Benchmarking Tool, meaning you can compare the results from your channels against the 50 best performing Microsoft Partners around the world. The best part is both the report and tool are absolutely free for Microsoft Partners everywhere, meaning it’s easy for you to diagnose your own digital marketing skill and compare it to your competition.

Get benchmarking today

With the Microsoft Partner Benchmarking Tool, you’ll have access to a wide-ranging and comprehensive tool that can help you improve your digital strategy. It includes all the tools, and metrics you need to clearly identify where improvements can be made and the knowledge you need to make that a reality.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started benchmarking your marketing today. Or, if you’d like to find out more, get in touch with us today.

microsoft partner benchmarking tool


The 10 best company websites of Microsoft Partners

  • We ranked the top 10 company websites of Microsoft Partners
  • Inspiration for Microsoft Partners looking to rebuild their website
  • Learn what made the best websites do so well

Your website is your most powerful marketing tool. It’s the place you can get your brand across, tell your customers how you can solve their problems and, ultimately, create leads for your business.

Being technology companies, it’s no surprise that many Microsoft Partners have excellent websites. If you are looking for inspiration to improve or upgrade yours, there are few better places to look than our list of the ten Microsoft Partners whose websites both look great and host some top-quality content too.

How we ranked the websites of Microsoft Partners

Every year we carry out an annual review of the digital marketing efforts of the Microsoft Partner Network. We review the blogs, social media activity and websites of 39,000 Microsoft Partners worldwide who work in the enterprise IT space (download the full Digital Marketing Excellence report here).

We built a tool which evaluates several website metrics, such as accessibility, content and speed to rank partners.

*Below are the top 10 best websites of Microsoft Partners according to our report (n.b. in the final Top 50 report, we aggregate blog, social media and website scores, so the top 10 in the report is very different to the list below).

Where companies achieved the same website score, we judged their position here based on where they finished in the full Digital Marketing Excellence report.

10 best company websites of Microsoft Partners

1. SSi Consulting

Score: 71

SSi Consulting create flexible accounting software based in the cloud, with an ambition to help companies increase productivity and efficiency in their daily accounting tasks.

SSi Consulting’s website made the top of the list because:

SSi want to "laser focus" on their customer needs and their website is a pure representation of that messaging. Simple and efficient without the bells and whistles, SSi tell their customers exactly what they can do for them.

What can you learn from SSi Consulting’s website?

Simplify, simplify, simplify. SSi waste no space, content or pages on anything but the essentials. Their website is so effective because it is so simple. Sure, not every website can be as simple and straightforward as this, but it should be the goal.

2. ShareGate

Score: 67

With headquarters in Canada, ShareGate is a leading provider of cloud-managed and migration services and are used by thousands of organisations worldwide.

ShareGate’s website made the list because:

Sharegate’s secured the coveted number 1 spot in the overall Top 50 report and their website played a big role in this achievement. ShareGate’s sleek website design grabs the attention and features the most effective structure of any website we surveyed, with the most direct and impactful information.

What can you learn from ShareGate’s website?

ShareGate’s website is a huge source of inspiration for Microsoft Partners selling specific products. We’re particularly impressed by their product pages that make good use of screenshots to demonstrate how their solutions work. Their inclusion of great customer quotes, FAQs and witty language combine to highlight their expertise and approachability.

3. Axon IT

Score: 67

Based in the North of England, Axon provide IT outsourcing services to clients and established themselves as the first company in their region to achieve Microsoft Gold Cloud Competency.

Axon’s website made the list because:

The first thing you notice when you arrive on Axon’s website is the phrase ‘Is your technology working hard enough?’ A direct question like this can provoke the right audience to consider their current situation and how Axon might have the answer they are looking for. This is all framed through a well-structured website design that neatly splits their services into ‘cloud’ and ‘managed’.

What can you learn from Axon’s website?

Axon showcase a great fusion of messaging and design to illustrate their bold and direct approach to helping their customers. From a succinct and informative home page, they’ve opted for longer form subpages where possible, meaning the website navigation avoids breaking down into reams of hard-to-find information.

4. Silverware

Score: 67

Silverware specialise in designing, implementing and supporting custom enterprise software for business management and enterprise resource planning sectors.

Silverware’s website made the list because:

Silverware have opted for a unique approach to their website. It stands outs due to their light-hearted but descriptive approach to their capabilities – matched with splashes of vibrant colours and creative images.

What can you learn from Silverware’s website?

For partners that want to inject a bit of personality into their website, look no further than Silverware. Adopting a bright colour palette and "fun" conversational copy sends a positive, warm message to customers and prospects alike.

5. CloudBerry Lab

Score: 66

Cloudberry Lab—founded in 2011—provide software, expertise and services that secure and protect the IT environments of small and medium-sized businesses.

CloudBerry Lab’s website made the list because:

CloudBerry Labs website features informative content that empowers the reader to discover more and educate themselves on the technology that’s best for them.

What can you learn from CloudBerry Lab’s website?

CloudBerry is a fantastic example of how an education-first approach to inbound marketing can really pay off. Their resource section breaks down into blogs for IT pros, blogs for MSPs, whitepapers and more visual educational content – showing how cementing your position as a thought leader can push you to the top.

6. Modality Systems

Score: 65

Communications consultancy and two-time Microsoft partner of the year, Modality Systems, helps clients realise the maximum benefit of their Microsoft investment.

Modality System’s website made the list because:

Modality System’s website is modern, sleek and easily navigable with a content-first approach that effectively draws the reader towards the educational material they need. The strength of their brand and the quality of their information contributes greatly to their exceptional score in this year’s report.

What can you learn from Modality System’s website?

Modality’s website concentrates on putting their customer’s needs first, rather than talking at length about the technology they offer. They show that when you focus on specific problems that technology can solve, you can frame the entire customer journey through a clear understanding of the ways in which their services create real value for the client.

7. SADA

Score: 65

As a global enterprise, SADA is an expert IT provider and consultant, specialising in enterprise consulting, cloud platform migration and custom application development.

SADA’s website made the list because:

SADA has done a fantastic job with their website. A simple design and great colour scheme combine with neat infographics and clear content that drills down into exactly what they can do and how their expertise can help their customers.

What can you learn from SADA’s website?

Aim for simplicity. This can be harder than it sounds – SADA provides a wide range of services which can be difficult to translate into clean-cut and precise copy. So, narrowing that down to the essential messages is a challenge.

8. Ledgeview Partners

Score: 63

Ledgeview Partners is a business and technology consultancy that specialise in a wide range of services dedicated to helping businesses provide a phenomenal customer experience.

Ledgeview Partners website made the list because:

The phrase ‘we’re savvy and personable’ appears on the Ledgeview Partners website, which encapsulates the two pillars of what makes their brand so attractive. There’s a wealth of interesting and useful information on the website, which combines their services with broader tips, guides and explainers.

What can you learn from Ledgeview Partner’s website?

Personality and brand play a big role in presenting your company to the world. Ledgeview’s friendly tone permeates through the entire website and it screams “we can help solve your problem”. A genuinely effective combination of friendly and professional makes it clear that the business is staffed by approachable people that mean business.

9. Ntiva

Score: 63

With a presence across North America, Ntiva specialises in cloud services, managed services and cybersecurity to ensure their clients always have access to the most responsive and efficient technology possible.

Ntiva’s website made the list because:

Design certainly played a major role in Ntiva’s website doing so well in our rankings. The clean, modern and simple layout is the first thing a user sees when they land on the homepage, which makes it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for.

What can you learn from Ntiva’s website?

Ntiva’s slick, simple and engaging website digs right down to the roots of what they do and why people “love” their products and solutions. Their great use of customer testimonials oozes credibility to show they’re an experienced business that deserves trust.

10. MCA Connect

Score: 63

MCA Connect’s goal is to align people, processes and technology to create award-winning Dynamics 365 and ERP environments.

MCA Connect’s website made the list because:

What makes MCA connect stand out is the way they are so consistent in the fundamentals of website best practice. Being rigorous and consistent when updating your site, being mobile-friendly, connecting with social media profiles and using strong page titles all help. Create a checklist of everything you can do to tweak and improve your website on a regular basis.

What can you learn from MCA Connect’s website?

MCA Connect has an incredibly well-designed website – it’s clear that a lot of thought and planning has been put into the design and user experience. Every box has been ticked here in terms of design, content, SEO and navigation. Pages are elegant, content is concise and navigation is easy.

Ready to take your website to the next level?

Great website design involves a close mixture of technology, design and content. If you don’t have the time or resources,  speak to us today about our website design capabilities.

Need a lead-generating landing page?

We can help! Talk to us about your business and the specific barriers you come up against when trying to generate leads.

Get in touch


Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 report

Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 – Report released today

  • The 2019/2020 Top 50 Microsoft Partners have been announced!
  • Come by stand #616 at Inspire in Las Vegas for your free copy or keep reading to download it now

[mks_separator style="solid" height="2"]

The highly anticipated date is upon us. The fifth edition of the Microsoft Partner Digital Marketing Excellence Top 50 Report is here! Would you like to know how your company fared? Are you interested in discovering who has come out on top of this year’s highly competitive rankings?

If the resounding answer is yes, then you’ll need to get a copy of the report!

Now, there are two ways to do this. You can either download a free copy of the report here, or you can pick up a hard copy at the Microsoft Inspire event in Las Vegas, NV.

If you are attending Microsoft Inspire this year, why not swing by stand #616 and say hello? The Fifty Five and Five team will be there, handing out the report and letting you know the latest marketing insights from across the Microsoft Partner Network.

We’re more than happy to chat with you about our key findings, the method behind our rankings and why we believe digital marketing is so key for today’s business success.

Find out where your company ranked!

Download the report

What is the Top 50 Digital Marketing Excellence Report – and who won it this year?

Each year we rank the digital marketing efforts of Microsoft Partners and publish an extensive report that celebrates the best marketing in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

As the only report of its kind, the Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 analyses and ranks thousands of Microsoft Partners based on their blogging output, website quality and social media engagement.

Here at Fifty Five and Five, we’ve been super busy crunching the data of 24,000 partners. The content team have been profiling the Top 50 partners, outlining how certain companies achieved their spot and noting new entries in the report. Meanwhile, the design team have been working hard on a brand-new look for the report, and the SEO team have been ensuring that content (just like this post!) is being found by readers like you.

For the third year running, Gavriella Schuster (Corporate Vice-President of the One Commercial Partner Organization at Microsoft) has written the foreword to the report. Gavriella cites it as a great resource for partners looking for examples, case studies and marketing best practices from their peers:

“By comparing websites, blogs and social media practices, partners can see how their marketing efforts compare to benchmarks set by the best in the Microsoft Partner Network; how companies like theirs are succeeding and making the most of inbound marketing practices.”

The Top 50 Digital Marketing Excellence Report is much more than a simple ranking list. We encourage Microsoft Partners to use the report as a benchmarking guide; the websites, blogs and social channels of the Top 50 being great examples to follow.

Even better: the report is positively brimming with insights, analysis and interviews to give a full picture of exactly what is required to achieve marketing excellence.

The winner this year?

It’s none other than Sharegate!

Sharegate is a leading provider of cloud managed and migration services. Their place on our list is largely down to their impressive blog score, which was the single highest of any partner surveyed.

“Hitting the top spot in the Top 50 report isn’t new for Sharegate; in fact, they’ve been here before. But after an impressive rebrand and an entirely new website, launched just a few months ago – their return to the top spot will no doubt be even more satisfying.”

Pick up the Top 50 at Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft Inspire takes place from the 14th-18th July in Las Vegas. We’ll be there all week at stand #616. Feel free to swing by to say hello to our team and discuss the latest announcements from Microsoft, alongside the latest in digital marketing and – of course – the Top 50 Report.

We highly recommend attending the panel discussion in which our founder Chris Wright will be discussing the secrets to content marketing for Microsoft partners, alongside Jennifer Tomlinson (Sr Manager at Channel Marketing Microsoft), Marc-Andre Fontaine (VP Sales and Marketing at SherWeb) and Paul Hsu (Marketing Director at Nintex).

We are also going to be providing masterclasses at our stand this year. We’ll cover a range of interesting topics, including tips for building landing pages for sign ups and methods for improving your ranking in Google in 2019.

I’m not in the report, what gives?

For the first time, we have used a single platform (the Partner Benchmarking Tool) for testing digital channels. The Digital Marketing Excellence Report lists the top 250 Microsoft Partners based on their website, social, and blogging – which are each weighted to create an overall score. The top 50 get a special mention in the report, as it’s undoubtedly a remarkable achievement.

It’s worth noting, however, that we ranked 24,000 partners this year. This means that any company in the top 250 positions can consider themselves in the top 1% of the Microsoft Partner Network when it comes to marketing!

It also means that if you didn’t feature in the report this year (or even if you dropped out) then you shouldn’t be disheartened. There are only so many places available, and it’s been a hugely competitive year.

If you’d like to see your company appear in next year’s Top 50, now is the time to put in place a great marketing strategy. This year’s report has lots of tips and ideas that you can start using today. Chris Wright, Founder of Fifty Five and Five, says:

“Microsoft partners are improving their digital marketing efforts year on year – to be among the best, you need to take it to the next level. If you’re not in this edition of the Top 50, hopefully we’ll see you in next year’s.”

Where do you rank in 2019?

Download the Top 50 Microsoft Partner 2019/2020 report now, to find out where you ranked.

Get the free report


Where do you rank in the world of the Microsoft Partner Top 50?

  • 2019's Microsoft Partner Top 50 ranking is complete! 
  • Discover this year's trends and get your hands on a copy of the report

[mks_dropcap style="letter" size="52" bg_color="#ffffff" txt_color="#20a1d6"]W[/mks_dropcap]e’ve been very busy over the last few months at Fifty Five and Five, putting together the latest edition of the Microsoft Partner Top 50 Digital Marketing Report. Now in its fifth year, the report showcases the best of digital marketing from Microsoft Partners of all sizes, and is set for release at Microsoft Inspire 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

We have: 

  • Compiled a (very) long list of partners from across the IT industry  
  • Crunched the numbers 
  • Narrowed down the longlist to a shortlist and finally a complete list of the best marketing efforts from partners according to our scoring

How we score partners

Ranking is conducted via our Partner Benchmarking ToolThe tool ranks over 40 metrics spread across three categories: 

  • Blogging – frequency, clarity, quality etc. 
  • Website – speed, structure, SEO etc. 
  • Social – reach, output, engagement etc.

The score from these individual metrics combine to make an overall score, which is used to rank Microsoft Partners.  

Every year we learn a lot about the state of digital marketing across the Microsoft Partner Network and the IT industry in general. This year was no different. Here are some of the findings from our report data that may help you focus more on your marketing strategies and improve the return on investment of your marketing. 

Overall findings

The biggest difference between partners who made the Top 50 and the average Microsoft Partner was between their blog score and social media score. There was, comparativelya very small distinction in website scores between those who made our list and the average partner. This could suggest that the quality of websites is improving across the Microsoft Partner Network while the quality of blog pages and social channel performance is much more varied.

Microsoft partner top 50

Table 1: The average website, blog and social score for the Top 50 and the average Microsoft partner

Know your range and stay social

The figure below shows the Top 50 score range demonstrating the difference between the minimum value and the maximum value for website, blog and social media. Some companies may have scored well across all measures, while others may have scored high in one area such as their website but low in other sections such as social. Social media had the most varied results which shows that, for some companies in the Top 50, their social performance may be the area that’s bringing their overall score down. 

Microsoft partner top 50

Figure 1: The difference between the maximum and minimum value for Top 50 scorers for the website, blog and social

Website 

Although there was little difference between website scores across the Top 50 and the average, there was still some notable disparities. The total number of outbound and inbound links for the Top 50 and the average was 401 and 208 respectively, a 92.55% difference. Although there is no specific number of outbound and inbound links that is the perfect amount for your website to succeed however the more links, and especially inbound links, means more traffic and better search rankings.  

In addition, Top 50 partners’ desktop speed was 14.87% faster than the average partner and mobile speed was 13.22% faster. Some of the best ways to improve website speed is to enable file compression, minify CSS, Javascript and HTML and reduce redirects. 

Blog 

There are many important factors when it comes to assessing blog performance such as days between posts, readability, length, images, ALT tags, outbound links, sentences, title length, URL length and more. One of the most important factors is the frequency of posts. The Top 50 across the years have been posting on average every 4-5 days while the average partner is more sporadic and posts on average every 15-28 days.  

Writing high quality content consistently is the key to not only good blog performance but also increasing website traffic. And, as you might expect, it can have a positive knock-on effect on social channels too. For example, our own website over the last four years has received, on average23% of total pageviews from blogs. That’s slightly more than one in five website pageviews via a blog post 

Another critical factor in content performance is the overall blog length. The average length in 2019 for partners in the Top 50 was 840 – this is 9.32% higher than the average partner. In general, the top scorers have an average blog length of between 800-1,000 words while the average is between 500-700 words. 

Outbound links also play an important role in blog performance. It can help improve reputation, increase page ranking and encourage backlinks. The average number of outbound links per blog for the Top 50 were 4.35, 59.63% higher than the average. 

microsoft partner top 50

Figure 2: A yearly comparison of the Top 50 (best) and the average Microsoft partner

Social media platforms 

There is one important factor when it comes to measuring performance on any social media platform: engagement. This may be influenced of course by how many followers you have. Our Top 50 had on average 14,743 Twitter followers, 29,929 Facebook page likes and 41,572 LinkedIn followers. That doesn’t mean though that if you’re a small company with a small following that you won’t rank in the Top 50 report - it’s mostly down to engagement. This is where the type of content you post on social can really have an impact and highlights the link between all three channels (website, blog and social). You might share a blog post on multiple social channels which leads people to your website, so all aspects are very important. 

The table below shows the average number of tweets per day, retweets and likes across Twitter accounts for the Top 50 and the average. The Top 50 post on average 2.89 times per day, receive 1.79 retweets per post and receive 3.54 likes per post.  

microsoft partner top 50 data

Table 2: Average number of tweets, retweets and likes on Twitter among the Top 50 and the average partner

With regards to Facebook, the graph below demonstrates the distinction between the Top 50 and the average. The Top 50 had 9X more post likes, 10X more shares and 8X more comments. 

microsoft partner top 50 facebook engagement

Figure 3: Engagement on Facebook for the Top 50 and the average partner

Are you in the Microsoft Partner Top 50?

To find out where you ranked this year, sign up and receive a copy of the report directly to your inbox. Or, if you’re attending the conference in July, be sure to come to our stall to pick up yours in person, or just stop by for a chat.  

More updates on our report and preparation for Microsoft Inspire will be released in the run up to the conference. While you wait, why not see what’s happening on our website? We have tips and tricks for the conference, and you can read past interviews with industry experts with plenty of advice to help you make the most of your trip.  

Looking forward to seeing you in July. Visit us at booth #616!

Where do you rank in 2019?

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